KARACHI: President Dr Arif Alvi has stressed the importance of blue economy and the effective use of ocean resources as the key to Pakistan’s future.
Speaking at the opening session of the three-day maritime conference that commenced on the sidelines of the sixth Aman-2019 Exercise on Saturday, he said: “The Indian Ocean acts as a strategic gateway for food, maritime transportation and energy supplies to the world and the presence of major powers in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) signifies its importance under a complex security environment.”
Appreciating the role of Pakistan Navy, the president said that the collaborative maritime security engagements with regional and extra-regional navies in the form of the Aman-19 exercise showed Pakistan’s resolve and commitment towards global peace and prosperity. “Pakistan is an important regional player and it wishes to work in harmony and collaboration with all regional countries for the common objectives of peace, stability and economic prosperity for the people of the region,” he said.
Earlier, in his opening remarks at the conference being held on the theme of ‘Global Geopolitics in Transition: Rethinking Maritime Dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region’ under the auspices of the National Institute of Maritime Affairs, the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi highlighted the significant role being played by Pakistan Navy in the sustenance of peace and stability in IOR.
Three-day maritime conference as part of multi-nation naval exercise begins
“Pakistan has always been an ardent supporter of maritime cooperation, and being the pioneer partner of Combined Maritime Forces (CMF), task forces CTF150 and CTF151, Pakistan has been the largest regional contributor to these constructs in terms of men and material,” he said.
“On our national front, Pakistan has commenced Regional Maritime Security Patrols (RMSP) that aim to maintain security posture in critical sea areas and choke points in the Indian Ocean. Pakistan, located at a strategic position in the Indian Ocean, needs to prepare itself for the challenges and work out viable strategy for the development of the maritime sector,” he added.
The naval chief further highlighted that the Aman-19 exercise was an embodiment of Pakistan’s commitment toward global peace and harmony where the naval forces from across the continent were brought on a single platform to enhance combating capabilities in the wake of traditional and non-traditional security challenges.
Director General of the National Institute of Maritime Affairs retired Vice Admiral Syed Khawar Ali Shah spoke about the objectives of the conference in his welcome address.
David N. Griffiths, research fellow at Centre for the Study of Security and Development at Dalhousie University in Canada, presented the keynote address on security myths and paradigm traps.
The inaugural session was followed by two academic sessions in which various international and national scholars along with academia from Canada, China, Russian, Iran, Maldives, Sri Lanka presented their papers.
On the sidelines of the event, Chief of the Naval Staff held meetings with Zimbabwe National Army commander Lt General Edzai Absalom Tafadzwa Chanyuka Chimonyo, chief of Romanian Naval Forces Vice Admiral Alexandru Mirsu, chief of Azerbaijan Coast Guard State Border Service Lt General Afgan Taghiyev Veli, and retired Admiral William A. Owens of USA.
During the meetings, matters of mutual interest, including defence-related collaborations and maritime security dynamics, were discussed. Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi thanked the dignitaries for participation in Aman-19 to enhance the collaborative efforts for peace and security.
Military dignitaries from the Royal Saudi Naval Forces and Turkish Navy also called on Vice Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Kaleem Shaukat. Representatives of all foreign participants of the exercise laid wreaths at the Shuhada Monument at PN Dockyard to pay homage for their sacrifices.
Friendly sports matches between officers and men of the participating countries and Pakistan Navy were also organised which included cricket, basketball and shooting.
The second day of Aman-19 exercise also included international navy bands’ display, a maritime counterterrorism demonstration and para and free-fall jumps.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail graced the occasion as chief guest.
The counterterrorism demonstration was a fine display of strength and specialised skills by Pakistan Navy’s Special Operations Forces (SOF) to counter acts of maritime terrorism, refine special operating procedures, exchange of professional expertise and to enhance interoperability with other participating SOF teams. The special demonstration of Pakistan Navy assets and their capabilities included dolphin manoeuvres by Special Fast Boats (SFBs), fast boat recovery, advance fire arms drills, static line para jumps, clearance operations, insertion of SOF teams and marines platoon to hover craft as well as bomb burst by helicopters.
The display was presented by the bands of participating countries with an aim to connect the countries through cultural heritage. The military bands from Sri Lanka, Pakistan Army, Pakistan Navy, Pakistan Air Force and Pakistan Rangers played a mix of traditional and military tunes.
Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2019